November 2020

The photo above was actually taken a day or two before November but it’s a happy photo so it’s staying.

And we need to work on happy because November is turning into quite a stressful month. We are now in lockdown until at least December 2nd with no guarantee that things will change very much for the better after that and our government are behaving like naughty children. No change there then. 

But should we be looking on the bright side, as the song insists? We’ve got a Democratic president in America (almost) and there are very positive noises around the Pfizer vaccine and speculation that it might be available before the end of the year and with a ninety percent success rate. We are witnessing the demise of the Cummings / Johnson love affair that has fucked the country up the bum for the last five years and AC/DC have reformed. Okay, that last one might only appeal to a small minority but it is still a sunny story. The drummer’s out of jail, the bass player’s returned and Brian Johnson can hear again.

Although, I am typing this paragraph on Friday 13th. Not sure if that’s anything to worry about.

No, I’m going to go with cheerful. There’s plenty to be cheerful about as well. It’s just that we tend to remember the bad stuff. I have a screen saver that kicks in on my laptop after about ten minutes and that screensaver is a random slideshow of all the photos I’ve taken in the current year. It is a delight to watch. Granted, I only tend to take photos on occasions when something pleasant is taking place but still, it is a reminder that there was plenty of joy throughout this year to contrast with what feels like overwhelming misery. We all hated the initial lockdown back in March but the weather suddenly became glorious and, those of us lucky to have gardens, hardly noticed the hardship. Okay, it was tough not seeing the family but those restrictions eased and it slowly became much easier. We made proper friends with neighbours and the clapping for the NHS was utterly glorious. The first time we did it I had to come in because emotion got the better of me. So many people showing gratitude to others that deserved it. It’s what makes humans special. 

And then we slowly moved into summer. We lost someone very special in June and that bought dark clouds for a while but the family did what families do and we all came through together. The restrictions made life difficult but we managed to meet up in gardens and comfort each other and drink and celebrate and we even managed to stage our own version of the Cropredy festival.
A special place that we go to every year that became a victim of the virus the same as all the other festivals. It is while meeting people at those type of events that you hear such words as, ‘This is the one thing that keeps me sane.’ and, ‘This is the place where I can relax and be myself for a few days.’ They’re often spoken as a light-hearted, throw-away comments but we have all learned that there is more to keeping sane than meets the eye. This world event that we are all experiencing has, at least, given everyone, or almost everyone, a taste of what poor mental health can be like. Everybody gets pissed off now and again and I’ve heard a lot of people dismiss depression as something that can just be shaken off with a bit of self-will and fighting spirit. I think this year has given a good many people a glimpse of what it’s like to live with that kind of illness. We have all had moments where we suddenly become emotionally wobbly and can’t quite understand the way we are feeling. It might be that folk are a little more tolerant as a consequence of this year. That would be one major positive.

August moved into September but we kept the sunny days. It was almost as though we were being treated to extra nice weather to make up for the situation we were all in. We were still meeting in gardens and drinking until the sun set with ever beautiful skies reminding us that autumn wasn’t so far away. But even autumn, with it’s gentle melancholy of death and decay, seemed something not to worry about as temperatures soared. We had a new addition to our family, another little boy, and that brought smiles and good feeling all round. In fact we had two additions to the family, a rescue dog from Romania who couldn’t be more beautiful or sweet tempered. There was still plenty to worry about of course with infections rising all the time due to insane decisions by a malfunctioning government. A parliament of inadequate morons doing exactly what that other feathery parliament is famous for: stealing all the shiny shit. But we have to rise above it. We can’t change it so why fret? It is what it is. Concentrating on the positives, on the pleasures, enables that kind of mindset. Let them screw it all up if they want. They’ll have to sort it all out eventually. Like any naughty child that has a tantrum and throws his dinner and toys all around the playroom and then tears off his nappy, he is left with a pile of shit that he now has to sit in. 

I never set out to summarise this year. I suppose that should be December’s job. But it was the screensaver that did it, showing me all the memories over the last ten months or so. The next few months are usually a bit of a challenge for me. I don’t like the dark nights and I don’t like the cold. The days seem to race by without me having achieved anything and yet, despite that fleetness of time, it still seems an eternity until the clocks go forward again. So I have to make a special effort this year. There’s enough to be grim about without wallowing in stuff that I can’t change so I need to get out more and enjoy the few hours of light that we do have. The Zoom meetings within family have started again and none of us really wanted that but we should be grateful that it is available to us. Isolation is nothing like it was in the days before the internet and smart phones. You can see a friendly face whenever you want and be in each others homes even if only virtually. We have a lot to be grateful for and, hopefully, a lot to look forward to. Time does pass and maybe the vaccine will make a huge difference and maybe we can get back to normal and maybe the politics of hate and intolerance will slowly fade into the background. A lot of maybes there but with a positive outlook anything is possible.

December beckons and then the New Year will start. For many this year has been unbelievably difficult and most people will be glad to see the back of it. But there will be better times ahead. We will look back on this year and it will be interesting to see how that works. For some inexplicable reason, hard times are often remembered fondly and perhaps it is the coming together of people, the mutual respect and the new friendships and the shared worry that create that feeling. Who knows?

So, I’ll see you in December. Keep safe and keep warm and maybe have a little look at my Web site where you will find lots of story, monologue and script to enjoy and you might even stumble across the odd link that will enable you to buy a novel.